Confederate Cemetery


Continue east on Route 29 1.1 miles, across the intersection with CR 622 (Featherbed Lane) about 100 yards to the turnoff on the left for the Confederate Cemetery. Pull in and park. The Confederate Cemetery on the east side of the parking lot contains the remains of about 260 men, very few of whom are identified. The cemetery was begun by local ladies who, after the war, assumed responsibility for Confederate remains found on the battlefield. The small white structure west of the parking lot at the road intersection is the Dogan House. It is a log and frame building dating from the 1850s, which was the overseer's house for the Peach Grove plantation. The plantation included the modem Stonewall Memory Gardens and acreage to the north and west.

Again, back on 28 August between 1800 and 2100, Hatch's Brigade halted just west of the intersection during the Brawner's Farm fight. Reynolds' Battery (L, 1st New York Light) fired in support of Gibbon, pulling out westward about 2130.

On 29 August at 0900 Schenck's Division moved down the Pike, then crossed to the south side in line of battle at about New York Avenue to the east. It continued forward to a point south of Brawner's Woods.

Dilger's Battery (I, 1st Ohio Light) was posted just to the south on the high ground where the 14th Brooklyn Memorial is. The 73d Pennsylvania provided security.

Blume's Battery (2d New York Light) set up where the Confederate Cemetery is now. It was supported by four companies from the 41st New York.

Johnson's Battery (12th Ohio Light) set up just north of the cemetery to provide direct support to Milroy's Brigade.

Milroy (2d, 3d, 5th West Virginia, 82d Ohio) deployed on line to the north. When he heard heavy firing farther to the north, he sent two regiments to help while he planned to use his two remaining to take some Confederate batteries to his front. However, he soon shifted everything northward to join the fight he heard.

At 1000 additional artillery was

Map, Manassas Battlefield - Confederate Cemetary

brought into the line so that five batteries were in place from the 14th Brooklyn Monument extending northward for about 600 yards. When Milroy deflected northward, Stahel's Brigade of Schenck's Division had to adjust northward to just above the Stonewall Memory Gardens. He was in the open, subject to Confederate artillery, and eventually pulled east to a point just north of the Confederate Cemetery.

At 1200 Col. Daniel Leasure's Brigade (100th Pennsylvania, 46th New York [6 Companies] of Stevens' Division, Reno's Corps [IX]) came forward to support Schenck's Division. Stevens accompanied. Colonel Leasure recalled,

... as we were passing the first height, and about ½ my command had passed over the top and were descending into the valley that intervened between the first and second . . ., we suddenly encountered the fire of the enemy's skirmishers occupying the ... heights in our front, and we immediately turned and marched by our left flank till we regained the crest of the hill we were passing over, where Gen. Stevens instructed me to take position on the left of the pike, my right resting on the road and as Dilger's Battery of Sigel's Corps had a few minutes before retired from that position, his ammunition being exhausted, Gen. Stevens replaced it by Benjamin's Battery, consisting of four 20-pound Parrotts. As for Benjamin's Battery (E, 2d U.S. Artillery), Benjamin had been on our front, a little to our left, and was moving obliquely to the left across an open field, when he encountered the fire of the enemy's skirmishers, and as a battery opened on the ... heights at the same moment, he wheeled his battery, gaining the pike, and passing to the right, took, his position, and unlimbered . . ., but in the open space ... he overturned one of his caissons full of ammunition.... On the twenty-ninth at 1300 Benjamin's fire had succeeded in neutralizing the Confederate artillery sufficiently to enable Stahel to cross south of the turnpike at the Groveton crossroads, reestablishing contact with McClean, his fight resting on the road junction. Confederate skirmishers were about 300 yards west and were finally pushed back by "aggressive volleying," according to Stahel.

Benjamin's guns continued to suppress the Confederate artillery, and Leasure continued,

meanwhile, Benjamin was plying his 20-pounders as cooly as if he were practising for fun, though the concentrated fire of five batteries, at fifteen hundred yards, was telling upon his men and horses, as well as upon the men of my command in support.... Benjamin himself rode slowly about among his guns, and sometimes dismounted to point a piece. He used a crutch, owing to a wound received in a previous battle, and his lieutenants ably seconded him.

The gun that had had its muzzle blown off still stood grinning with its ragged jaws towards the enemy, and the gunners withdrew it a few rods and buried it, placing a head-and foot-stone to it, as if it were the grave of a soldier left alone in his quiet rest.

At 1600 on the twenty-ninth Schenck gradually withdrew eastward to Chinn Ridge under growing Confederate artillery fire. The batteries on both sides of the road conformed. This was when Law's Brigade moved forward to Groveton (c. 1700).

About 1900 the withdrawal of some of Jackson's troops back to the railroad after a local attack north of here led Generals McDowell and Pope to conclude that the Confederates were retreating. McDowell therefore ordered General Hatch (who had replaced King) to begin a pursuit.

Late on the afternoon of the 29th ultimo I was ordered by General McDowell in person (who was at the time stationed near the Stone House, on the turnpike from Gainesville to Centerville) to move the division on the Gainesville road in pursuit of the enemy who, he informed me, were retreating. Gibbon's Brigade had been detached to support some batteries. With the three other brigades of the division and Gerrish's battery of howitzers I proceeded with all the speed possible, hoping by harassing the enemy's rear to turn their retreat into a rout.

After marching about three-quarters of a mile the Second Regiment of U.S. Sharpshooters was deployed to the front as skirmishers, the column continuing up the road in support. The advance almost immediately became warmly engaged on the left of the road. Two howitzers were then placed in position, one on each side of the road, and Doubleday's Brigade was deployed to the front, on the left of the road, and moved up to the support of the skirmishers. We were met by a force consisting of three brigades of infantry, one of which was posted in the woods on the left, parallel to and about an eighth of a mile from the road. The two other brigades were drawn up in line of battle, one on each side of the road. These were in turn supported by a large portion of the rebel forces, estimated by a prisoner, who was taken to their rear, at about 30,000 men, drawn up in successive lines, extending V/2 miles to the rear. Doubleday's Brigade moved to the front under a very heavy fire, which they gallantly sustained; but the firing continuing very heavy, Hatch's brigade, commanded by Colonel Sullivan, was also deployed, and moved to the support of General Doubleday. Patrick's brigade, which had been held in reserve, took up a position on the opposite side of the road, completely commanding it. The struggle, lasting some three-quarters of an hour, was a desperate one, being in many instances a hand-to-hand conflict.

Night had now come on, our loss had been severe, and the enemy occupying a position in the woods on our left which gave them a flank fire upon us, I was forced to give the order for a retreat. The retreat was executed in good order, the attempt of the enemy to follow being defeated by a few well-directed volleys from Patrick's Brigade. (General John P. Hatch)

General Hood's version as recorded in official records: At sunset an order came to me from the commanding general to move forward and attack the enemy. Before, however, this division could come to attention it was attacked, and I instantly ordered the two brigades to move forward and charge the enemy, which they did most gallantly, driving them in confusion in front of them. Colonel Law's brigade, being engaged with a very heavy force of the enemy, captured one piece of artillery, three stand of colors, and 100 prisoners, and the Texas brigade three stand of colors. It soon became so very dark that it was impossible to pursue the enemy any farther. Some of Pope's staff a mile eastward observed the fight. When it became quite dark there was a beautiful pyrotechnical display about a mile distant on our left, and near the Warrenton Turnpike, occasioned by a collision of King's Division of M'Dowell's Corps with the enemy's right. The sparkling lines of musketry shone in the darkness like fire-flies in a meadow, while the more brilliant flashes of artillery might have been mistaken for swamp meteors. This show continued for an hour, the advancing and receding fires indicating distinctly the surging of the battle tide; and at this time not the slightest sound either of small-arms or artillery was perceptible. It seemed at length that the fire of the enemy's line began to extend and thicken, while ours wavered and fell back, but still continued the contest. Between eight and nine o'clock it ceased entirely, and we returned to our head-quarters station, where we picketed our horses and prepared to pass the night beside a campfire. (Col. David Strother, "Personal Recollections of the War") At 2100, as Hood's men pressed eastward they captured one gun from Capt. George A. Gerrish's Battery (A, New Hampshire Light), plus the wounded battery commander. One remained and continued to fire until my men were so near it as to have their faces burned by its discharge. The battle ended at 2200, when a squadron of the 2d New York Cavalry charged to cover Hatch's withdrawal. Law's Confederates chewed it up badly. This occurred about midway between the Confederate Cemetery and the Stone House. Hood then pulled back to a point south of Brawner's Woods.

The next day, between 0700 and 1200, Reynolds' Division moved forward from near the Henry House and cleared the area around the Groveton crossroads. The 13th Pennsylvania Reserve set up a skirmish line west of the intersection and linked with skirmishers from the 3d U.S. Infantry, who arrived after 1200 and were set up on the east side of the modern Stonewall Memory Gardens. Syke's Division set up north-east of the Confederate Cemetery.

On the thirtieth of August at 1200, Reynolds pulled back to Chinn's Ridge under pressure from Longstreet's skirmishers and reported a Confederate buildup south of the Pike.

At 1345 Hazlett's Battery (D, 5th U.S.) occupied the hill by the 14th Brooklyn Monument.

At 1430 Warren's Brigade of Sykes' Division deployed south of the Pike to support Hazlett.